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Google Sues Consortium Backed By Apple and Microsoft to Protect Android 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the tis-the-season dept.
A couple months ago, Rockstar, a patent-holding consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry, and others launched a barrage of infringement suits against Google and the makers of Android devices. Google has now launched a counteroffensive, seeking protection from Rockstar's patent trolling. The complaint (PDF) says, "Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation." Google's filing also accuses Rockstar of interfering with their business practices by contacting other companies and trying to convince them not to use Android. It asks for a declarative judgment of non-infringement.
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Google Sues Consortium Backed By Apple and Microsoft to Protect Android

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  • About time. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:32AM (#45781577)

    They should have started sooner.

    • Re:About time. (Score:5, Informative)

      by gnupun (752725) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:46AM (#45781613)
      They didn't have anti-patent troll legislation that was passed recently. Let's see how that law works in Google's favor.
      • Re:About time. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:22AM (#45781713) Homepage Journal

        I care less about how it works in Google's favor, than I care about how it works in OUR FAVOR! In this case, I believe that Google's interest coincides with the "consumer's" interest. Anything to kill patent trolls sounds good to me. I'm aware, however, that the best of laws have those pesky unintended consequences.

        We, the end users, are already paying for illegitimate licensing over a broad spectrum of goods. It's unlikely that killing off patent trolls will do very much to end existing licenses. But, if we can see the beginning of the end of those bastard patent trolls, eventually the market price of consumer goods will start to go down.

        I actually do still favor Google, in general, but some of their practices aren't all that non-evil. I can't cheer the anti-troll legislation just because it seems to favor Google. I support that legislation for the sake of all of us, who aren't even players in the patent game. Ultimately, WE PAY for that nonsense.

        • Re:About time. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:25AM (#45781725)

          That's the same reason I find myself being a fan of Google in other areas as well. They still seem to believe in open protocols and formats (although waning a bit recently), where others are trying to tie customers to their proprietary services.

          • Google is the worse for tying customers to their services. Sign up for email and suddenly I'm getting flooded with google+ garbage I never wanted or asked for and there's no way to disable or opt-out. And now they want to put our real names on every youtube comment we ever made? Talk about invasion of privacy, and people thought apple was bad for having a walled garden of apps. Anything that stops google sounds good to me.
            • by Rob Y. (110975)

              So stop commenting on YouTube. It's not an invasion of your privacy for them to require your real name to comment on their site. Just don't do it. I personally am fine with them using my info to direct advertising at me, but am not okay with they're using me to sell stuff to other people (oh, that's Facebook, right). Seriously, 'Anything that stops google' from what? You can still watch the videos and copy/paste the URL's to friends. When they start posting 'Joe Blow just watched Deep Throat' to all h

          • by Wovel (964431)

            keep telling yourself that. It has been true for 10 years, but keep telling yourself that.

        • by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer@hotma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:27AM (#45781727)

          I believe that Google's interest coincides with the "consumer's" interest.

          As long as you hand over all of your personal data to them sure of course they will side with the the *consumer*.

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:39AM (#45781783) Homepage Journal

            Do you block Google Analytics, and all their ad servers? Do you block tracking? I'm willing to allow Google some limited data, and I block the rest. So, no, I don't hand over all my personal data. Further, I encourage others (techies and non-techies alike) to block Google's tracking. I don't believe anyone can block it all, but neither do I believe that Google is going to waste time, money, or effort trying to track people who don't cooperate.

          • by fredprado (2569351) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:53AM (#45781833)
            Nobody is a saint in the corporate world, but not all corporations are equally rotten either. In comparison to most Google is still the better guy, and in this specific fight it is in most people's best interest for it to prevail.
        • by greenbird (859670)

          I'm aware, however, that the best of laws have those pesky unintended consequences.

          This, my friend, is the crux of the issue. We have some bad laws (patent laws in this case). We know we have some bad laws. How do we fix it? By passing more laws. Yeah, that should work out well.

          Our government has risen to such a level of idiocy it's almost beyond comprehension. I keep having flashbacks to "Idiocracy". It's rather terrifying that that movie may become socially relevant in my lifetime.

          And that's not even the scary part. Those idiots are the ones in charge of every morsel of data they're now

          • It's already happening I'm afraid.

            There are universities in my country offering degrees in Surfing (waves, not the internet) and The Beatles.

            It's the end of civilisation as we know it.

            Additionally, Ayn Rand is offering no useful solutions. It is in fact people with a very similar philosophy to objectivism who have dropped us right in it now.

            • by greenbird (859670)

              Additionally, Ayn Rand is offering no useful solutions. It is in fact people with a very similar philosophy to objectivism who have dropped us right in it now.

              I challenge you to point those out. In almost ever case where I see claims like these it's from people who don't understand Ayn Rand's philosophy. The world today is exactly what Ayn Rand railed against.

        • Arbitrage? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @01:08PM (#45782367)

          I dislike patent trolls. But I cringe everytime someone says someone is a troll just because they don't make the product associated with their patent. I've patented invention (in laser physics). I don't make lasers or detectors for commerical purposes. I make inventions and then sell the inventions. I don't think that makes me a patent troll. Furthermore if sell my invention I might well sell it to someone who plans to make their money by selling licenses to the invention rather than making it. I'm glad they exist. Because it makes it easier to sell the patent, it means there's less risk to the inventor and thus more reason to invent. Conversely that company is making their money by arbitraging. While I might have sold it for more had I the resources to connect with buyers, there's risk to me, because it might flop. To them, by buying lots of inventors patents, some flop, some are worth far more than they paid. On average, by holding lots of patents, they make money by arbitraging the risk I want to avoid.

          SO it's better for everyone. more inventions, more of those inventions finding practical use because they are commericially available.

          SO what's a patent troll versus a legitimate arbitrager? Perhaps its deliberately collecting dubious patents and then suing people who probably developed the technology on their own as an extension of their legitimate manufacturing? It's a fine line. Some things are truly obvious in hindsight but these are not always obvious is foresight. What makes this hard is that Many times patents are not collected on till a long time after their invention. This makes them seem more obvious in later times than they were at the time of their invention.

          The things I invented were really almost impossible to do at the time, but 7 years later with newer technology they were easy to do. When they became easy to do, lots of people did it and sold products. When I informed them of my invention, they said, oh come on thats so obvious. And indeed it was, now, but defintitely not at the time. I know this because for example one of them allowed a laster to tune 1000 times faster than any other laser at the time was able to. It's quite apparent everyone would have invented that if they could have since it's so desirable. But 7 years later it seemed so easy to do.

          Thus it would not have been unreasonable for me to have sold that patent to an arbitrager and get my money up front. they can wake 7 years for the industry to start using the idea, then assert their rights and make cash. this is a good thing.

          • Re:Arbitrage? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by russotto (537200) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @02:43PM (#45782819) Journal

            The things I invented were really almost impossible to do at the time, but 7 years later with newer technology they were easy to do.

            Then your invention was worthless; it was unpracticable until it would have been obvious anyway. It's relatively easy to blue-sky a bunch of things you could do if some enabling technology were available, but in fact cannot do.

            • by goombah99 (560566)

              The things I invented were really almost impossible to do at the time, but 7 years later with newer technology they were easy to do.

              Then your invention was worthless; it was unpracticable until it would have been obvious anyway. It's relatively easy to blue-sky a bunch of things you could do if some enabling technology were available, but in fact cannot do.

              So I take it you only try to do things that are easy to do? Such a legacy you will leave this planet.

              • by Rob Y. (110975)

                I think he's saying "I thought of it, but couldn't figure out how to implement it" is not enough of an 'invention' to merit a monopoly on the idea. Is that so complicated?

                I thought of the 'dual flush' toilet years before they appeared on the scene - but never bothered to build one (nor did I know how). Does that mean I deserve royalties from the other people who also thought of it and actually built them.

                • I thought of the 'dual flush' toilet years before they appeared on the scene - but never bothered to build one (nor did I know how). Does that mean I deserve royalties from the other people who also thought of it and actually built them.

                  No, because rather than publishing your idea, you sat on it and did nothing until someone else came up with the idea. Why should society give you anything, when you've been keeping secrets?

                  Patents are not an award - you don't "deserve" royalties simply because you thought of something. Patents are a payment made in exchange for destroying a trade secret - in exchange for publishing your idea and telling everyone how to do it, society pays you a grant of a temporary monopoly. But if you don't pay your share

                  • Patents are a payment made in exchange for destroying a trade secret

                    Only if it were a worthy trade secret in the first place.

                    in exchange for publishing your idea and telling everyone how to do it

                    Right, how to do it. Pardon me for failing to see how making an invention which was "almost impossible to do at the time" is worthy of a patent...

                  • by Rob Y. (110975)

                    Way to miss the point. Without having made the thing, I didn't have an 'invention' worthy of patent. Far from complaining that 'somebody else stole my glory', I'm saying there was no glory to steal. Everyday pipe dreams are not inventions - though I guess our patent system can be manipulated to treat them as if they were.

                    • Way to miss the point. Without having made the thing, I didn't have an 'invention' worthy of patent. Far from complaining that 'somebody else stole my glory', I'm saying there was no glory to steal. Everyday pipe dreams are not inventions - though I guess our patent system can be manipulated to treat them as if they were.

                      It's not that I missed the point, it's that you're moving the goalposts. Originally, you said you had an idea, but sat on it and did nothing. Now, you've changed that to say that you didn't even have the idea. Uh, okay, but now your entire post is irrelevant. See, we're talking about people who did invent things and either published or sat on it, and what society owes them in exchange, not people who didn't invent anything and are now angry and bitter about those who did. Thanks, though, and have a nice day

        • I believe that Google's interest coincides with the "consumer's" interest. Anything to kill patent trolls sounds good to me. . . .

          Sadly, this is the same short-term "something must be done to keep us all safe" mindset that got us the Patriot Act and other similar founts of long-term regret.

          As to Google's interest coinciding with yours, you're only looking at half the picture. Google asserts its own patents against others. Thus, at the end of the day, Google (like many large corporations) is most likel

        • by Wovel (964431)

          It would be a lot more believable if Google did not belong to several similar consortiums. The ownsers are all practicing entities, I doubt the new law would apply.

      • They didn't have anti-patent troll legislation that was passed recently.

        I'm pretty sure that legislation is still in the Senate. See also this [youtube.com].

  • Oh how I wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:34AM (#45781585) Journal

    Oh how I wish PJ was around for this... she'd be all over it.

    • Re:Oh how I wish (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrDoh! (71235) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @11:54AM (#45782073) Homepage Journal
      I sooo miss Groklaw. There's so many things happening I want the better view of it instead of the usual Florian copy/paste hack job.
  • Two prong attack (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HellCatF6 (1824178) <HellCatF6@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:38AM (#45781595) Homepage

    They should have started sooner, AND
    They need to put the full-press on congress to improve the patent process. Patents mean almost nothing today. The office is overwhelmed, and it's up to patent courts to try and sort through the mess.

    • by greenbird (859670)

      They need to put the full-press on congress to improve the patent process.

      Rollback, my friend. Please say 'rollback' rather than improve. If they try to improve they'll only make it worse. They'll improve in a manner befitting to the interest they're beholden to rather than in a manner that's beneficial to the people and the economy.

  • by blippo (158203) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:00AM (#45781651)

    Can someone enlightened explain why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple against Google - Sony's only hope for their mobile and tablets division?

    Is it the media and games departments that are fighting a war against their own company?

    As soon as I think that Sony might be doing something right, they shove their heads up their arse again.

    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:30AM (#45781745) Homepage Journal

      "As soon as I think that Sony might be doing something right, they shove their heads up their arse again."

      Lack of oxygen, mostly. There's a lot of methane in the posterior orifice, and little oxygen.

      TBH, I cannot understand the thinking of the idiots who graduate to become corporate executives. Theoretically, they joined the consortium to save money. Being a member of the consortium, the other actors aren't going to go after them to extract licensing fees. Android, for instance, has been reported to have "earned" a couple billion dollars for Microsoft already. And, of course, Microsoft is ethically entitled to NONE of that money. Or, if they are actually, truthfully, entitled to any of it, they should have presented their case in court somewhere to demonstrate exactly what they should be entitled to.

      I'm sick of the status quo. Microsoft implies that a product may infringe upon one of more patents, but never does state exactly which patent, or how the infringement might be taking place. That doesn't exactly fit the modus of most patent trolls, but it's close enough for my purposes.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Or, if they are actually, truthfully, entitled to any of it, they should have presented their case in court somewhere to demonstrate exactly what they should be entitled to.

        Microsoft was prepared to do just that to Barnes and Noble before Barnes and Noble decided to settle.

    • Why do two theives work together on a heist? Sony, plain and simple, has pushed patented solutions where they have a licensing interest over open ones that are not patent encumbered for as long as I can remember, such as MPEG over VP9.

      Considering that Sony doesn't have much hope in phones and tablets with Android, and their hardware interests go far beyond that into things like camcorders and blu ray players, taking down Android would return us to a world of large patent licensing fees in products.

      It'

    • Can someone enlightened explain why is Sony in bed with Microsoft and Apple against Google - Sony's only hope for their mobile and tablets division?

      Because Google isn't Sony's only hope. Sony Mobile could just switch from Android to a version of the PlayStation Vita operating system with cellular voice support. Now that Sony is opening up to indie developers, reportedly almost as wide as Apple's App Store, Sony might just be able to pull that off. Perhaps the only reason why Sony hasn't already done this is Time Warner's trademark on Vita Phone [wikipedia.org].

    • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @12:23PM (#45782189)
      Sony has been schizophrenic ever since they bought Columbia/CBS Records. Before then they were pro-technology, anti-strict IP. Sony was the defendant in the infamous Betamax case [wikipedia.org], where the TV/movie companies tried to argue we could only watch TV live, and shouldn't be able to use VCRs to time-shift broadcasts.
      • by andydread (758754)
        THIS!!! exactly this. Sony used to be a pro-technology company until they got into the content business and now have become one of the biggest assholes. I went from owning exlusively Sony products to running far far away from anything Sony because of their behavior once they got into the content business. Will not purchase or reccomend Sony products until they leave that business. They are one of the MPAA and RIAA biggest members.
  • So fuck them with a rusty shovel.

  • Ever heard of Sony Xperia phones ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In 2011, Google lost an expensive bidding war for a group of Nortel Networks patents to a handful of technology giants including Apple and Microsoft that paid $4.5 billion. Two years later, a consortium jointly owned by those companies is suing Google for patent infringement.
    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/11/01/google-sued-by-patent-firm-owned-by-apple-microsoft/

    So they tried to buy a company that "produces no products and practices no patents."
    They must be glad they dodged that.

    • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer@hotma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:24AM (#45781719)

      So they tried to buy a company that "produces no products and practices no patents."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nortel_products [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Pinhedd (1661735)

        I'm of the opinion that this is "too bad so sad" for Google, they had their opportunity to bid for the patents but didn't want to shell out for them. The billions of dollars in proceeds generated from that bid allowed my father to recoup some of his pension that he lost when Nortel collapsed. They didn't buy Nortel as a whole, they just purchased some of the IP that was auctioned off.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Patent wars like this hurt all of us. Less innovation, higher prices. It hurts the US in particular because it is the worst place for patent abuse. You have less choice and your tech companies are hobbled by having to worry about patents all the time and waste money on lawyers.

          Your grandfather might have done okay out of it, but it's an immoral gain IMHO.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:29AM (#45781743)

      The company that bought the patents was formed just to buy the patents. The theory was that Google bought the patents because they knew they'd be used against them. Check Google's record on patent use, To my knowledge, they haven't used them aggressively, although Motorola had suits in progress before they bought them. The really nasty part about Rockstar is that they promised they wouldn't use the patents for this purpose, and then did.

      • by fostware (551290)

        No. The backing companies promised not to use the patents this way, and then washed their hands when Rockstar said "well we didn't promise anything..."

        They're a corporate hitman, giving the backers plausible deniability and no surface area to countersue (since they can't infringe anyone else's patents when they don't make stuff)

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          I'm hoping a judge does not allow this shallow deceit and fines them into the ground.

      • by Wovel (964431)

        Motorola sues someone new every day. They are one of the most offensive users of patents in the world. Your high on Google's BS.

    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:34AM (#45781771) Homepage Journal

      Sorry, your reading comprehension seems to be suffering. Google bid on the patents. Google never made any effort to purchase the company, Rockstar.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockstar_Consortium [wikipedia.org]

      You will note that Rockstar was formed by the members of the consortium for the purpose of patent enforcement. It appears to me that this enforcement has devolved into patent trolling.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GrumpySteen (1250194)

      No. Google didn't try to buy Rockstar, which is the consortium that produces no products and practices no patents.

      Nortel produced a lot of produts. Google bid on some of Nortel's patents after they went bankrupt. Rockstar is the consortium that outbid Google and bought those patents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:20AM (#45781701)

    For a quick history lesson, "Rockstar" was a consortium created specifically to purchase the Nortel patent portfolio. Google was invited to join this group, but declined. Furthermore, Rockstar wasn't the first company to make a bid for these patents. That honor goes to Google, themselves, who ultimately bid as much as $4.4 billion.

    So, instead of having a single company (Google) having control of a huge list of patents themselves we got Rockstar -- a company created specifically to share the patents among other big players so no one entity has control over it all.

    How this is construed as Google trying to protect Android is simply beyond me. If Google didn't see value in the patents they wouldn't have bid $4 billion dollars to get them. If Google was worried about protecting Android they would have joined Rockstar in the first place. Google made a serious strategic mistake and is now pursuing a legal course of action to try and rectify it.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Let me invite you to join my protection racket. You're fooling yourself if you think this company was intended to share anything but patent trolling money. The "invitation" did not protect Android OEMs from that (now confirmed) patent trolling.

      Strategic mistake? Go fuck yourself. Google should be suing for collusion.

      Merry Christmas.

    • by fostware (551290) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @12:01PM (#45782107) Homepage

      Google was invited to join this group, but declined.

      I promised I would never do this but.... citation please.

      I'm not willing to believe it unless you have a source that doesn't reference the same unattributed quote I found in three different news articles...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apple owns 58% of Rockstar. They effectively have sole control.

    • Google was invited to join this group, but declined.

      Of course... what would it have got them? It would have given Google themselves protection, while leaving the manufacturers using Android (and who Google need) out in the cold and vulnerable. Google being part of that racket would have helped Android not a bit, they either needed to control all of them and use them to protect their partners, or not be involved at all.

    • Your "quick history lesson" appears to uncritically regurgitate a meme that, so far as I can tell, has no support.

      Rockstar [wikipedia.org] bought the Nortel patent portfolio. CPTN Holdings [wikipedia.org] bought the Novell patent portfolio. Google was invited [twitter.com] to join CPTN, not Rockstar.

      Confirmed by Google here [blogspot.com].
    • by andydread (758754)
      Stop trolling pro troll. I know that you know that had Google joined with Microsoft to purchase the patents under the conditions Microsoft had layed out it would not have stopped Microsoft from attacking Google's partners HTC, Samsung, Motorola at the time and others using Android with these same patents. And slinging around the talking points of Microsoft does nothing for your credibility on this matter.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Google only used patents defensively. It is against this kind of abuse, I.e suing the competition instead of innovating. Look at the two biggest players here: Microsoft is struggling to get people to use windows devices and Bing, Apple loves patent litigation and is widely thought of as having fallen behind in terms of innovation and market share.

      This consortium is not about protection, it is about attacking Google. Do you think they would even have let Google join? Of they were only interested in protecti

  • The shell company that holds the patents itself produces no products, but Apple and Microsoft certainly doâ"it's just that they hold the patents jointly through this 'Rockstar' entity.

    If this weird patent system is still what we have in place, this sort of joint ownership should be allowed. Leaving aside the relevance and desirability of the patent system today, I can't really see a problem with this. It's not really the same as a company that's never been associated with any endeavour related to the patents they own and who exist only to bilk money out of other people.

    • by InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:53AM (#45781837)

      But the companies themselves are not suing Google themselves, and are not claiming that Google infringes any of their products. In fact, these patents could apply to things for which no product exists, or could be so general, that nearly all products in that category use them. Unless you are claiming that another company is hurting your sales, you are a patent troll. Rockstar has no product sales and will not bring up the sales of its shareholders in court.

      Either way, they are trying to dodge accountabilty by using a shell company to sue. Besides hiding, they limit their own liability should Google prevail. Rockstar is clearly setup with one purpose -- to sue with impunity.

    • by c (8461)

      The shell company that holds the patents itself produces no products, but Apple and Microsoft certainly doÃ"it's just that they hold the patents jointly through this 'Rockstar' entity.

      None of the patents held by Rockstar were invented by Microsoft or Apple and none of the parts of Nortel that actually built products based on the patents were purchased by Rockstar, Microsoft, nor Apple.

      That's pretty much the essence of a patent troll. That the owners might do some of their own stuff doesn't really chang

    • The shell company that holds the patents itself produces no products, but Apple and Microsoft certainly doâ"it's just that they hold the patents jointly through this 'Rockstar' entity.

      If this weird patent system is still what we have in place, this sort of joint ownership should be allowed. Leaving aside the relevance and desirability of the patent system today, I can't really see a problem with this. It's not really the same as a company that's never been associated with any endeavour related to the patents they own and who exist only to bilk money out of other people.

      Nice business you got there. Be terrible if something happened to it. Join our consortium, and pay your protection money and we won't beat you up in an expensive court battle. This is a group of companies going against another company. It violates the principals of Corpratism by essentially allowing alliances to form expressly to leverage force other than through better products or prices. This is akin to how individuals formed tribes, and eventually governments -- The corporations will do the same at

  • ...through litigation. These so called "consortiums" are clearly anti-competitive, while I have no love of any of these companies (Google is just as bad as the rest of them), they should be illegal, as described.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:28AM (#45781737)

    Apparently, Rockstar is now selling most of the patents they bought from Nortel for these lawsuits [cnet.com].

    It was a scummy business all along. It went like:
    Apple and MS: *buying up Nortel's patents*
    US DoJ: *stares at them intently*
    Apple and MS: "We promise to fairly license these patents to anyone!"
    US DoJ: *nods, turns away*
    Apple and MS: *passing patents to Rockstar quietly*
    Rockstar: "Ha! We're neither MS nor Apple and didn't promise shit, suckers!"

  • How is this illegal? It may be a PITA and uncool, but *every* business tries to convince you to not use their competitors products.

    If this flies, what is next, fan boys cant speak either?

    Unless there is true fraud involved ( pay-offs, lying, coercion, etc ) every company should have the right to win customers

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt [wikipedia.org]

      Manipulating the market is unethical, especially when that manipulation includes dishonesty.

      IMHO, it's perfectly alright to tout the strengths and benefits of your own products. It's not alright to spread rumors that the competition's product is inferior, substandard, or whatever. In the case of Microsoft, they have historically stooped to some pretty low levels in their attempts to destroy competitor's good names. Some of that crap SHOULD be illega

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is a difference between "convincing to use my product" and "convincing not to use their product", don't you think?

      Especially when "convincing" likely involves "... because we've got this here patents and you wouldn't want them turned on you, right?"

  • by BroadbandBradley (237267) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @12:58PM (#45782333) Homepage

    "Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation." this statement sums up nicely how patent trolls are a stain on our modern patent laws and actually hinder innovations rather than promote innovation as patents are supposed to do.

    If you don't make a product using your patent, you really shouldn't have the right to tell others not to. To have an idea is one thing, but to actually bring it to market is something else entirely. To have an idea that could enhance the lives of everyone but do nothing but sit on it is counterproductive to the advancement of society as a whole. One good idea pompts many more good ideas, if all these patent trolls had actually been producing products instead we'd be much further ahead in terms of product innovations. Just in user interface design alone, there's stupid patents like "pinch zoom" for touch screens, How many other concepts never hit the market because of royalty fees or patent lawsuits?

    It boils down to the basic idea that information wants to be free, anything else is an un-natural restriction on the life force of the universe!

    • If you don't make a product using your patent, you really shouldn't have the right to tell others not to. To have an idea is one thing, but to actually bring it to market is something else entirely. To have an idea that could enhance the lives of everyone but do nothing but sit on it is counterproductive to the advancement of society as a whole.

      What about if you're not sitting on it, but actively trying to market to the people who can bring it to market? Say I, a home inventor, come up with a new way to drastically increase the efficiency and safety of nuclear energy plants - I'm sure as heck not going to get clearance from the government to start building nuclear generators in my garage. Should I not be allowed to try to license that idea to energy companies? And if I'm not allowed to do so, then why would I waste time writing it up in the first

    • The idea that "whether or not a concept is being marketed should affect whether a patent is enforced or not" is wrong if anyone would bother to put even a small amount of thought into it. Counter example: What if you are selling it for a price that no one is willing to pay? Counter point: a NOVEL concept wouldn't be marketed anyway if the patent didn't exist. A little thought goes a long way.

      The term "Patent Troll" is just a label that gets used to avoid dealing with the actual problems of patents. Th

  • Fix the system. Before a company can claim patent protection, the patent must be in use in a directly conflicting way. 99% if current patent claims would not survive this test. Rockstar makes nothing and operates as a privateer. Shut that down.

    • and invalidate all the patents too.

      The patent office needs to offer a service for those being targeted.
      If someone threatens to sue someone else, either without disclosing the patents or without describing how they are being infringed, the patent office should be able to investigate.
      If they find there is no possible infringement or the patent is a bit shit, all patents involved should be invalidated.

    • Rockstar is owned by MS and Apple and Sony. MS, Apple and Sony are producing products that use the patents. Does this change your proposed solution? If so, how do you account for that change in a general way.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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